Legislators Hope To See “Fenced Off” Funds Released

As the new fiscal year dawns, legislative leaders continue to urge the Governor to release some $80 million in funds that were restricted for specific uses as part of the enacted FY 2017 state budget.

From AP reporting on the WTOP website:

The question of whether to spend the money is the latest sign of fiscal wrangling between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature, though it’s a relatively small amount in the overall budget picture. Maryland’s general fund for the fiscal year starting Friday is about $17.1 billion. The state has a rainy day fund of about $1 billion, apart from the $80 million that Democrats set aside for the governor to approve.

Last year, the governor and the General Assembly wrangled over how much to fund a formula that directs money to jurisdictions where education costs more. Hogan proposed funding it at half its total amount, about $68 million. The legislature set aside another $68 million to fully fund the formula, but the governor had the final say, and he declined to spend the money.
This year, Clark said the governor supported about half the items now in question in his initial budget plan. But, he said, lawmakers have left him with an “all or nothing approach” that feels more like political maneuvering than sound fiscal policy.

Several county priorities rank among the prominent items on the “all or nothing” list — including school board funding for teacher pension costs, aging school building improvements, and public safety radio systems. In April, MACo sent a letter to Governor Hogan urging the funds’ release. (See the Conduit Street coverage)

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties